US Department of Commerce has an issued an order to ban TikTok and WeChat from app stores in the country from Sunday unless President Trump reserves it through a last-minute deal. The ban will bar citizens of United States from downloading the messaging and video-sharing applications through any app store on any platform. Trump administration has alleged the companies are posing serious national security threats and could pass the data of US users to Chinese government. However, both Beijing and its companies have denied the accusations.
As per the new order, WeChat will terminate its operations in US on Sunday but people will still be able to use Byte-dance made TikTok until Nov 12, 2020 when it would also be fully shutdown.
Reacting to the decision, TikTok said it was disappointed in the order and could not agree with the commerce department orders as it had already levelled up the transparency responding to the reservations made by Trump administration.
“We will continue to challenge the unjust executive order, which was enacted without due process and threatens to deprive the American people and small business across the US of a significant platform for both a voice and livelihoods.”
WeChat’s parent organization Tencent called the newly enforced restrictions and unfortunate but said they would continue to work with US government “to achieve a long-term solution”. The ban placed from the Department of Commerce is an extension of President’s executive orders signed in August. It gave the US-based businesses a deadline of 45 days to server ties with Chinese companies active in United States. If a planned partnership between Oracle and ByteDance is successfully negotiated and approved by Trump the app will be available and safe to work across US. Trump told reporters on Friday he believed a deal could be reached with TikTok owners quickly adding that while he demands “security from China,” TikTok was “an amazing company, very very popular.”
“Maybe we can keep a lot of people happy but have the security we need,” he said.
“At the president’s direction, we have taken significant action to combat China’s malicious collection of American citizens’ personal data,” the US Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement.
DOC acknowledged the security challenged posed by the Chinese applications but admitted that the threats coming from TikTok and WeChat were not identical but said that each warranted “vast swathes of data from users, including network activity, location data and browsing and search histories.”
With the order coming into effect on Sunday, people in US will be not be able to utilize the app (WeChat) for funds transfer or send/receive payments to/from people in United States. However, TikTok users will still be able to run their apps normally but would not receive and download news updates processed by the developers of the application.
“The President has provided until Nov 12, 2020 for the national security concerns posted by TikTok to be resolved.” The commerce department said. After this point, some technical transactions will be banned on the app and functionality will be affected, said Wilbur Ross in an interview given to FBN. He assured that the TikTok will stay intact until Nov 12, but WeChat will be shut down for all practical purposes from Monday midnight.